September 28th, 2007

Much Has Happened

Fr. Francesco Felice Mattera has been pastor of San Giovanni Battista in Buonopane for 33 years. The church, he says, was founded on the 9th of October, in 1537. When Fr. Mattera began as a young priest, the population of Buonopane was 1,300. Today it’s around 1,500. Recently many new villas have been constructed so now the village is hardly recognizable. It seems virtually everything has been remodeled, including the church. For instance, the floor used to be warm terra cotta. Now it is gray marble. The altar stone is new, but the columns supporting it date back to when the church was built. The oil painting of St. John above the altar is an original, done some time in the 1600s by Massimo Stanzione, who was among the students and followers of the great Caravaggio. Mattera, he says, is a very old family name in Buonopane. Much has happened in this tiny vllage during the past thirty-three years.